Refugees: The Ugandan example

Keywords : Human and trade union rights Uganda Migration

by Samir ABI, Permanent Secretary of the West African Observatory on Migrations

In June 2017, Kampala, the capital of Uganda, hosted a United Nations summit on solidarity with refugees. This was an opportunity for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to study this often praised model for refugee management. There are 22.5 million refugees in the world, of which 5.6 million are in Africa, including 1.3 million in Uganda. In a rather explosive regional context of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Somalia, in addition to socio-political conflicts in various other countries of the great lakes and East Africa, Uganda has had no choice but to open its doors to thousands of people fleeing to save their lives. The tension created by the reception of refugees in Europe and the obvious will of the European governments to set up sorting centers for asylum seekers in the Sahel made it necessary to carry out a monitoring mission in Uganda to understand the mechanisms of its model for refugees.

Young people at risk of their lives

Women, children, girls and boys. This is the vision that marks any visitor to the Bidi bidi camp in northwestern Uganda near the southern Sudanese border. Meetings with these people on their journey reveals how difficult it is for young people to live in Africa. Young people who had to flee their homeland for daring to demand work, good governance, transparency, and a better distribution of wealth, or had no choice but to flee from wars created by transnational corporations looking to exploit the natural and mineral resources on their land. Here we recount the story of these Sudanese, Congolese, Ethiopian, Somali, Rwandan and Burundian refugees encountered in Kampala and throughout our visits to hospitable Uganda. Of all these stories, which recount the misfortune of being a young person committed to social justice in Africa, that of Fiona from Burundi deserves a little attention. (Read more) at

Samir ABI
Visions Solidaires
West African Observatory on Migrations
Observatoire Ouest Africain des Migrations
Observatório Oeste Africano das Migrações

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